WHILE the Grade 10 results show a slight improvement compared to last year, the sad reality is that about 15 000 full-time learners failed this crucial step in their quest to complete their secondary education. In other words this could potentially be the end of the academic quest for thousands of young men and women who will join the ever-growing army of unemployed people.
According to the statistics, the results improved by 2.6 percent over 2012 when just over 52 percent of Grade 10 learners qualified for admission to Grade 11.
With some keen observation of the behaviour of Namibia’s Grade 10 learners it must be pointed out that the world has changed tremendously during the last few years. The first major change that has been observed is a lack of discipline in most learners. It has become commonplace for teens in particular to talk back to their teachers and in some cases some of these teens have even threatened to manhandle their teachers. Ask anyone from the so-called ‘old school’ of education and they will tell you that while you were at school there was no way you could get away with a mindset that does not include discipline. When corporal punishment was still allowed in the country, not only would your teachers enforce strict punishment but also your parents or guardians would do the same when they learned about any behaviour that showed lack of discipline.
Then, if one looks at the top performing schools in the country, namely St Boniface College, Negumbo Senior Secondary, Canisianum Roman, Edugate Academy, Heroes Combined and Oshigambo Secondary School, the assumption can be made that those schools situated in isolated areas offer less distractions than those schools in urban areas and hence produce much better academic results. Is it not strange that those very expensive schools with their very expensive teachers in urban areas, especially Windhoek, did not even make the list of the six top-performing schools?
Even the six best performing regions (Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango and Zambezi) are those with the least urbanization.
Does this mean that too much development can be a distraction for today’s youth?
It can only be inferred that there are too many distractions in urban areas and one of these distractions is the use of cellphones. These days children as young as 10 years have the fanciest cellphones and of course these gadgets need to have wi-fi or at the very least should have Internet access. You can see these youngsters all over with their heads down constantly staring at their little cellphone screens, playing games on the Internet or just chatting. Would these learners not perform much better in school if they spent half as much time with their books as they do with their cellphones?
Easy access to the Internet has also contributed to the poor performance of our Grade 10s. So many topics covered in school these days can easily be accessed using the most popular search engines.
This in itself may not be a bad thing if it were not for so many of today’s youth who prefer the ‘copy and paste’ approach to essays and research.
Teachers and educational experts need to search the Internet for similarities to works submitted by learners to verify if these learners actually do their own work or simply get most of it from the Internet where the work has already been done for them.
Even our Education Minister, Dr Namwandi, admitted that while these are the best Grade 10 results since the inception of the current system, things could be better. As parents and other stakeholders let’s take away the distractions, instill more discipline and ensure learners do their homework on time.
By The Editor